Lewis Hamilton has jumped to the defence of the Just Stop oil disrupters who invaded the track during Sunday's British Grand Prix.
The seven-time F1 champion, 37, claimed another podium finish at Silverstone but the race was marred by a devastating crash in the first corner. Zhou Guanyu, George Russell and Alex Albon were caught up in the collision on Abbey corner which sent the Alfa Romeo driver upside down into the barriers.
The red flag prompted a 53-minute delay as Zhou was rushed to hospital, where he was later given an all-clear by medical staff. The drama, though, was far from over as climate change activists stormed the circuit.
READ MORE: Incredible picture shows just how lucky Zhou Guanyu was after horror crash
Just Stop Oil, the same group who tied themselves to a Goodison goalpost during Everton's 1-0 win over Newcastle United, have taken credit for the planned stunt, which involved five protestors sitting down on the Wellington Straight.
"Big up the protesters," said Hamilton after the race. "I love that people are fighting for the planet and we need more people like them."
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He later added on Instagram: "As we've seen today, this is a very dangerous sport. I wasn't aware of the protests today, and while I'll always support those standing up for what they believe in, it must be done safely. Please don't jump onto our race circuits to protest, we don't want to put you in harm's way."
His Mercedes team commented: "Lewis was endorsing their right to protest but not the method that they chose, which compromised their safety and that of others." Northamptonshire Police confirmed seven people have been arrested following the protest on the opening lap at Silverstone.
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